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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  August 17, 2015 11:30pm-12:01am EDT

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i'm del walters in new york. join us for the news any time by going to lisa fletcher up next with "inside story". have a good night. [ ♪ ] checking your email, posting pictures on facebook, perhaps tweeting out your whereabouts. they are fairly route in in the internet age, but 15% of american adults still are not online. what is their hold up? fear of technology, lack of access. digital deficiencies. it's "inside story". welcome to "inside story".
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i'm lisa fletcher in for ray suarez. the fast-paced world set in gear by high-speed internet access has transformed the way we learn, do our jobs and live our lives. 15% of americans are offline according to a recent pugh study, that fm has been on the decline since 2000. when half of americans didn't use the internet. the decrease flattoed. the details are noteworthy. >> 39%. 33% have less than a high school degree. 25% less than 30,000 dollars a year, and 24% live in rural america. 13% live in urban settings. starting in the south, a city has no from in high-speed internet. here is al jazeera's jonathan martin. >> reporter: with an appellation
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back drop. chattanooga prided itself on the river front and rail. now an ultra high speed internet service. >> it's about 100 times faster. it's driving growth in the small tennessee city. >> it's easier to do anything. >> reporter: chattanooga's fibre optic connection transfers data, four times faster then new york. it's on par with hong kong. which is the fastest in the world. >> we have the community as the big city, the first city to have a kig. >> chattanooga became the first city. >> reporter: it started more than four years ago when e.c.b. was looking to upgrade its power distribution center, not only improving the power grid, but with bonds and stimulus, engineers creating a fibre oic network. now, epb customers have access
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to the superfast internet. 4,000 customers signed up. the chattanooga chamber of congress reports in the last three years 30 companies moved here because of the gig, creating 1,000 jobs. jack runs lamp post, an incubator for start-up. >> you realise how much time and fun yip you save on -- money you save on every little traction, that starts to add up. >> the difference is easy to see with video files, we uploaded a six hour movie in over 4 minutes, taking 45 minutes than most broadband connections. >> it's all done, waiting on you to process it. >> a few american cities have fibre optic networks. google added fibre networks in three cities, with plans for more. >> looking at the united states and the rest of the world when
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it comes to internet connectivity, we are well behind. i think maybe it will fake five or 10 years. a lot more cities will have it if not by then. >> chattanooga sees itself as having a head start on the rest of the country. now they used creatives and engineers to find ways to take advantage of the new face of networking so why aren't all americans rich or poor, living in cities all over the country, getting online. we turn to the c.e.o. for the rockford housing authority, one of 28 cities chosen for the connect home pilot. grossfield, the tribe chosen to be part of the programme. and erica swanson, head of community impact for google. there's a process going on, some
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cities second and third in the world for access, and 15% with no internet access. the pilot process is part of an internet expansion goal. how were communities chosen? >> we actually were looking at the pilot programme and asked to inquire and put forward the interest in the programme. and felt it was a perfect opportunity to expand high improvements and investments in our technology and felt it was our imperative. we put our hat in the rink, so to speak, and were chosen to move forward. >> what is the biggest barrier to access. >> infrastructure. we have a tough time getting private sector stakeholders on board. it's a broad area, covering 10.5
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counties. it effects 369 units that the housing authority manages. so it comes up to 636 tenants that it is going to impact. it's just in a rural area, that is the infrastructure is probably the hardest barrier that we have to get over. >> erica, you know they are the target of the project. why do you think it's focussing on low income, when you look at the - if you look at the different ways to break it down, people over 50 represent the largest group in the 15% of non users, why focus on low income. >> the need is there. it's absolutely there. economic inequality and issues deeply tied to the digital divide. we see a difference in rates of connectivity between families with low incomes, and more affluent families. what is good about the connect
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home initiative, you get to work with the k 12 schools, where children are every day - teachers, educators, public housing authorities, and places people live, and the business community can come together. it doesn't mean working with seniors is not important, but it's an important place to start and focus the work and see what is possible. >> speaking of responsibilities, it has to cross your mind, the economist of all of this. >> it's one of the things that we have to bridge the gap, give you a slight story. there was a young man - i won't mention names, that lives in a low rent home at our site. and he is 24 years old. he doesn't go to school, he can't afford to go to school. he stays home to take care of his sick mother. this is the perfect opportunity for a situation like that, where he can advance his education. we have another young lady
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living in a red okay side who works full time and can't afford to drive to college, she can't afford anything unless it's at a distant price. these rental units. they are income based. so our director - that has to be cleared through the board. and needs mechanisms in place, so if someone is taking training, or going for training or furthering their college education we would subsidise their rent to support them in the cause until we can get the people educated so they can be self sufficient. one of the things you were tasked with, what were the needs in rockford that stood out.
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we saw connectivity amongst the seniors and the lack of connectivity was with families we had 1900 students, 25% of the population close to 7,000 and we looked at how are kids accessing the internet. 46% had access to the internet. they may not be able to connect. can most connect at school. >> 100% of our schools are connected. when they say they have access, it's at home. >> how will you measure the success of this programme. what is the metric? >> we know what it takes to
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cross the digital divide. we worked for time, housing authority. it inspires an spishive. what we learnt is it requires three legs of a stool. one leg of that stool is taken at affordable and the other is digital literacy, making sure parents know how to use the computer and internet safely. and the other is making sure families have access. we are looking at all three of those programs coming together. are they coming together. and in each of these cities, the solutions might be a little difficult. depending on what the community will do. we have a lot pushing through. what do you have to gain from this. first and foremost, we can make
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the community we are in. we can make the communities stronger. that is a significant goal in and of itself. we can contribute to the learning. what did it take for people to cross the digital divide, when we crossed the divide. we see what works. we can take that into other cities, and we can take that out to a whole practice. >> we all need to - they are so far along just like they said, they are so far along. two years it's taken them to go to this point. they have had - they set the example. there's a large low income housing project. i want you to think about what the response was with the residence. stick around. when we come back, we'll continue this conversation.
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last month president obama said the internet was not a luxury, it was a necessity, adding without the internet they would not connect to today's economy. we'll talk about segments of the population that are not online, and why. digital deficiencies. it's "inside story". and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight.
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>> there's a line of police advancing toward the crowd here. >> ferguson: city under siege. >> it isn't easy to talk openly on this base. >> and america's war workers. >> it's human trafficking. >> watch these and other episodes online now at welcome back to "inside
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story", i'm lisa fletcher in in for ray suarez. digital deficiencies on display and where it falls in a hierarchy of needs. the fca commissioner told his audience: fast-forward a few weeks to president barack obama's speech to the chak tar nation. >> the internet is not a luxury, it's a necessity. you cannot connect with today's economy without having access to the internet what is clear, according to the pugh study is the expense of internet service or honing a computer is a barrier for 19% off line. i'm with ron cloour, c.e.o., scott grossfield, connect home
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administrator, and erica swanson, head of impact for google fibre. scott, you were at the president's speech. >> i was. >> at choch tar nation, is access to the internet a necessity. >> it is a necessity. for the elders especially, and i hate to say this, we are not getting younger, they shop more online than having to get out of the house risking injury or anything like that. they can stay connected to family members, skyping, webcam or whatever they choose to do. it's huge for them as well. a lot of them that i have talked to, they want to learn more how to work the device. a large percentage of them would take some type of digital literacy. >> ron, when you have the powerful government officials like the head of the f.c.c.
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making statements like the internet is not a necessity or human rights, it makes you think how realistic is the long-term success of a programme like this. what is the plan to make it viable? >> i think if we look at - first of all we have to show the need. in a day and age when most kids go to school, doing the homework, not just in the classroom, but required to do some outside of the classroom, and technology and internet are sellings to that. if we are not facing the reality of how important the internet is, what we are doing is setting the kids up for future failure. if the kids don't have access to simple tools of the system, and doing their homework, completing the assignment, we are putting the kids behind the eight ball further than we have historically, and we are speaking with low income children. the sustainability will be
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proven when we start to see, i think, some significant changes in the outcomes for children, and ultimately the social isolation for seniors, as was said. i think our seniors absolutely depend on the internet. we have seen that with connections from prior grants, the best use we have in the senior facility. >> erica - where do you think america stands in terms of successibility - rate us among global competitors. >> the united states no longer lead in internet speeds to trail other countries on how fast the average internet connection is. we don't lead the world in ubiquity of connectivity. we have 60 million households that don't have internet at home. that means for kids that come home from school, there's a homework gap. the term, the homework gap is catching on. i think it's a really good way to understand what it means to
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students, to children and their families when they go home from school, and don't have the internet connection, and that has real consequences for educational entertainment. fast-forward that, what does it mean for college applications and acceptance. cer going to move families out of the job. focussing on students in school. they'll folk this. they'll take online courses. >> no one will oaring -- argue that this is a bad idea, but with i have to talk about the cost. $50, $60 million out of the
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gate. >> we are fortunate where at&t buy broadband. they are local. they have come on board with giving us a lot of infrastructure and the actual service at a discounted rate. we have to apply for a grant, 52,000 to make up the difference between what has been donated by certain private sectors. that wasn't a big hit on us. we have partnerships with other companies. we deem that as a success. where we say now, we'll fire someone to track the people that are going to the trainees, trying to get the degrees, things like that. we'll have someone in place. from a corporate perspective.
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there's no point at which this is self sustaining. groups give google a free service. one says we'll give $9.95 service for the first year. what comes after that. at what point is this too much of a burden. >> i like the spirit of a private initiative. we have come together. here is what we can do. our commitment is applicable. to work with public housing authorities in the markets that we serve, to find properties where we bring state of art technology, bringing it to the property. and to work with partners there and the businesses in the community. the national partners, the literacy training to find a clear path. and can sign up. and those properties we were going to give the chance to sign up. that was good. we were pleased to make that
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commitment. this is as you hope, an economic boost. creating a self-sustaining community. hold that thought. we'll be back. when we come back, we talk about urban renewal and the idea of a renaissance. digital deficiencies, it's the inside story. >> 10 years after hurricane katrina. >> it was like a nuclear bomb had gone off - everything smelt like dead bodies. >> one constant. >> music has been the essence of this city. >> inspires a community to rebuild its city. >> we gonna bring this city back one note at a time. >> and overcome hard times in the big easy. >> we are bigger, we're better, we're stronger.
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[ ♪ ] welcome back to "inside story". i'm lisa fletcher, in for ray suarez. tonight - digital deficiencies, how some americans are avoiding the internet or the internet avoiding them. internet connectivity is ainvading americans lives. for many, like electricity, they can't imagine living without it. we are back with scott, erica and ron. what are some of the less obvious challenges to closing the digital divide between rich and poor families? >> the less obvious is getting the device in people's hands. they become so divisive to people not having tablets, smartphones, and for the kids
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doing homework. they can't do them on a smartphone. the devices don't work that way. so getting the devices in their hands, having the access within the neighbour hood and development. the - i think we all take advantage of free wireless in the community. if you don't have oo coffee shop, a library or a place where these things are accessible and are limited to computer lab hours of 8 to 5. you come up against the wall. >> you mentioned earlier that boston was the city to follow. erica partnered with the authority. you worked on a housing projects. >> what was the response. >> it's been strong. we have seen again we are partnering with the city of auston. they have brought to the table incredible number of partners. what they have found is that in
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the property we started, 90% of those residents have signed up for internet service. 50% of those residents have not only taken a digital literacy class, but earnt a free computer donated by the community college. it's an example of lots of players and stakeholders coming together, and a local partner drives vision for what it looks like. we see regs dents express interest, sign up, anticipate and we try to get good feedback about what they are doing now. >> it's one thing to do the programme in austin. you stand more than 10 counties, how do the get the counties in vast and remote areas. >> it's something we have to maintain. we'll have to have the local
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convenings on a regular basis, to show people that there is - there is a light at the end of the tunnel. we want it to light a fire, which want people to get involved, get their kids engaged, we have to engage with a lot of private sectors, we don't have community colleges that are close. we have libraries members of a l.a. so we have to continue to be strong in that aspect. and one of the things that might help with these communities is understand who are the major employers, for educators, it may be that it's obvious about preparing students to do well in schools, but for employers, it's about preparing the workforce. >> we have seen an invitation. >> we have 45 seconds left.
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outside of just low income groups, expectations are changing in rural parts of the country. people are expecting connectivity. do you think the revitalization of american small towns hangs on broadband access. >> i think it does. we have seen not just the challenges around low income folks in the community, but around business with the community. we have lost key employers over the past 10 years. >> 10 seconds, ron. >> trying to have them come back into the communities is imperative. >> thank you to all our guests. ron from the housing authority, scott from the chak tau nation and eric from google fibre. that is it. tomorrow we'll take an inside look at the debate raging about voting rights. for ray suarez, i'm lisa fletcher.
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goodnight. searching for clues and answers in bangkok after a bomb blast at a popular tourist spot kills at least 20 people. you're watching al jazeera. coming up in the next half hour. south sudan's rebel leader signs a peace deal with rival president says he needs more time. >> an unlikely leader in the country following an election. >> fear


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